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ElShaddai

Pedestination or Free Will

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I feel like the philosophical background for this debate is just perpetually being ignored.

I would agree. There are many scriptures and arguments brought up that were never addressed that I would say are the most important. I have absolutely no time for debating and I some how managed to get a few posts in here. :P

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Viewing God like this is essentially viewing Him as not sovereign. The reason God predestined man's rebellion against Him was that God's glory was best in a world where His justice could be displayed against sin. Due to the fact that people always act inline with their nature, it's the only way the fall could have happened. Prior to the fall man was perfect. There was no sin in him, and there was no way that he could have chosen to sin because he knew not was sin was and had no desire to sin. Thus, God had to cause Adam's sin to come about because there is no other possible explanation for Adam to go against his perfect nature.

Unbiblical. The reasoning of the creation of man can only ever be speculation.

Arminians do not believe in total depravity. They believe in "total depravity" which is ultimately canceled out by universal prevenient grace, which is an unbiblical notion. Also, to say that we are free to follow our desires is to agree with the compatibalist. The reason libertarian free-will is an unbiblical notion as well is it allows for, even theoretically, man to live his life without sinning because in every instance he could have chosen the opposite of that which he chose. Meaning it was possible for him to not sin in every instance that he sinned.

Completely wrong. Colin, as I've been reading through your posts, it honestly appears you don't have a fully comprehensive understanding of Arminianism.

It is that grace draws us, but yet we have the option to resist the Holy Spirit. It is the most Biblically flowing ideal of the acceptance or rejection of grace.

Let me first start of by sharing the common points that we, as Christians, should believe.

1. We are all totally deprived of God. We cannot come to God out of our own free will, but rather by His calling.

2. Salvation is by grace alone. No amount of works will ever help your salvation.

3. It is the Holy Spirit who calls/draws us. Only the Holy Spirit can pull us towards God, without this, we have no nature to seek God.

Now, I feel that Calvinists resort to their doctrine because they feel that God must maintain all the glory, and that we need to maintain the authority and sovereignty of God. However, I personally believe that Arminianism (free-will), fulfills this entire issue fully and more so than Calvinism.

This is why;

Now, a God that has orchestrated the creation and evolution of sin tells of a God that has a desire for wanting to see failure in His creation, or at least, providing the option of sin for people for the sake of their personal suffering. This completely defies the attributes of God and His character of love and justice.

The issue of free will. Free will must be defined as ability to make decisions without any form of constraints. Or, in more philosophical terms, the ability to make personal decisions that are not controlled by divine or spiritual natures. This argues against the concept of election, via the word constraints, personal and divine.

Calvinists confuse Christ's work as being the penalty for individual sins and healed by His work on the cross. But, Christ healed the broken relationship, by being the penalty for us and replacing us. And Christ's blood is sufficient for all, with the option of effectiveness for all, via acceptance. To say Christ died for our sins before we committed them specifically is a ridiculous concept, Christ died for our sins before we had sinned, yes, but as the replacement, as the bridge, to tear the veil and be the filler in our gap of relationship.

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There is no question in my mind that the only free will I have is the free will to sin. We don't have a contract with God, and it isn't 99% Him and 1% us. He. Is. Sovereign.

---------- Post added at 10:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:15 AM ----------

Romans 9 makes that pretty clear.

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2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Act 4:24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,

Act 4:25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, [fn] said by the Holy Spirit, "'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?

Act 4:26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed' [fn]--

Act 4:27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

Act 4:28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Rom 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Eph 1:5 he predestined us [fn] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Eph 1:12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Rom 11:2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?

Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts has sworn: "As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand

Job 14:1 "Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble

Job 14:5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

Job 14:6 look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day."

Psa 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psa 135:4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession. (This verse is one of many verses speaking of Israel being chosen)

Jhn 13:18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.' (this is speaking of Judas, take note however that Jesus mustn't be talking about choosing in the physical sense because He chose Judas as a disciple. He can only mean the spiritual)

Rom 11:5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.

1Cr 15:37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.

1Cr 15:38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.

Col 3:12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

1Th 1:4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

1Th 1:5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

1Pe 2:4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,

1Pe 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

Rev 17:14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful

The first verse is my favorite as it best explains my view of election.

Here are my beliefs in summary:

1. God is sovereign.

2. Man has a free will.

3. God valued free will so much that He created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

4. Man, out of his own free choice, separated himself from God and brought the curse of sin upon himself, resulting in spiritual blindness.

5. Because we have wronged God, only God can offer forgiveness and reconciliation to the sinner.

6. Forgiveness and reconciliation is made possible in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

7. This forgiveness is offered by the Holy Spirit to the sinner.

8. The Holy Spirit enables the sinner to see the truth of the Gospel, and enables him to have the ability to choose it.

9. The man will undoubtedly choose salvation because of the irresistability of the Gospel once truly seen.

10. God does not give all salvation, because then all would be saved. All would see the truth of the Gospel message and choose it.

11. God chooses to show this redeeming love to some and not others. God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy.

12. God is not held to the commands He gives to man to love all because man is commanded to love and forgive all on the basis of the forgiveness and love he has received from God. God has no need for forgiveness, and has never received undeserved love, therefore He is the only being that is able to choose not to love and forgive others.

13. God’s love is the highest form of love, because not only is He not required to show love, but also because He chooses to show love to sinners who have done wrong to Him and do not deserve love at all.

14. The unsaved will be sent to Hell for total destruction, not because they haven't received Christ, but because of their sins.

Man was free, put himself in bondage, only God can free us from such bondage as we cannot free ourselves, God chooses those whom He shall choose.

I would be an Arminian if it weren't for the enormous amount of scriptural proof on the side of Calvinism. Arminian scriptural proofs always end up being inconclusive and not as clearly stated as Calvinist scriptural proof.

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It seems to me that free will is either non-existant in all places at all times in all ways because God plans for and sustains all existence; or, free will is a mystery somehow compatible with God's sovereignty in ways I don't understand. Because the existence of evil can only be explained under the dominance of a holy God through free will, it seems (perhaps incorrectly) to me that free will must exist. Even if it only existed under Adam, even then his independence under the eternal plan of God is not something I can conceive.

Therefore, it is not impossible that both freedom and God's sovereignty should exist, but if this were the case, I would not be able to prove or even understand it because freedom itself is a mystery.

What would this mean for theology? Certainly it would not be to diminish God's glory by uncertainty between predestination or a mystery: for whichever is true, all good, all power, all truth must come from God, as it always has been even before the Fall--without the Creator there is no good, either in or outside man, and existence itself is a gift out of the God who gives endlessly of His love.

And thus, in terms of morality, it would not diminish the sinner's dependence on God: For whatever choice there is, whatever good exists in man at any point, is not his own but a gift of mercy from God. Faith is a gift; submission is a gift; grace a gift; perseverance is a gift; joy is a gift. Whether there is any element of choice at all in whether to use these gifts does not reduce the depravity of man without God or the dependence of a Christian on the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit by which He receives the gifts necessary to growth towards God.

And as for the actual specific application of ethics, even Calvinists live as if they were free. I have yet to meet a heavenly robot. I don't know their hearts, and certainly the work of the Holy Spirit must bear on their choices as much as it does in every other Christian's; yet they persevere in the illusion of freedom, choosing whether to buy chicken or the sirloin steak. The Calvinist even seems to choose to submit to God as a depraved sinner in need of mercy. The only difference between them and other Christians is whether they believe this is illusion and they were really predestined to act as if they had some choice in the matter.

And this is good. If there is no predestination and we live with mysterious freedom within God's sovereignty, then thank God even those who believe in predestination act as if they could choose; and if there is no freedom and we are predestined, then thank God we have been predestined to act as if we'd chosen to respond to God!

All of which is to say, one way or the other, doctrine on predestination seems awfully academic, assuming to know more than we do, towards no real ethical purpose since our duty remains the same towards the same God regardless of the mechanism by which we receive and respond to that duty.

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Yves, don't be so quick to pit predestination against free will. The two are, upon examination, quite compatible. It takes a lot of explanation, and I am not quite articulate enough to explain as well as some, so I'd like to point you in the direction of some books that explain the mystery of God's sovereignty and Man's free will and how they relate to each other. One book, one that I am currently in the middle of, is Chosen By God by R.C. Sproul. He explains in an easy to understand way how God's sovereignty and Man's free will are reconcilable and how they coexist flawlessly.

If you don't feel like reading a book, I'll post back later explaining the philosophical view that reconciles predestination and free will rather smoothly. I'm pressed for time right now.

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Alright, let me try to explain for everyone how free will and predestination, in the Calvinistic, Thomist, and Augustinian views, are compatible.

First, let me define "free will." Jonathan Edwards defined it as such: "The ability to choose what we want." That's rather short and sweet, so I'll elaborate a bit. Essentially, what Edward's is saying is that to have free will is to have the ability to choose your highest desire. For example, if someone wants vanilla ice cream, and they have chocolate and vanilla set before them, they are free to choose vanilla because that is what they want the most. Now, how does this relate to predestination? Let's look at the ice cream example again. If someone loves vanilla ice cream and hates chocolate ice cream, and vanilla and chocolate are placed before him. Given his prior circumstances of loving vanilla and hating chocolate, it logically follows he will choose the vanilla ice cream. Now, his free choice was predestined in the sense that his disposition to ice cream flavors predestined his ultimate choice. Now, was his free will impeded on? No, not at all. He chose what he wanted, and he did so freely.

Now, if predestination and free will are compatible in such a simple, seemingly trivial instance, how much more would it be with something like salvation? If man is indeed totally depraved, if he is indeed fallen, how much more will that impact his free choices? It would impact it a great deal. If we are inclined to sin, if our highest inclination is always to sin, as the hypothetical person's was to have vanilla ice cream as opposed to chocolate, we will never be able to legitimately choose God on our own accord, or even with the aid of some ineffectual call, because we are forever inclined to sin and not to God. Make sense?

To have a free will is not to be autonomous, as some would like you to think. To be autonomous would be to deny God's sovereignty. And I don't think any Christian, or any legitimate theist for that matter, would be willing to deny God's sovereignty for that would be to deny God's God-ness. So, what most people claim is free will is really just a totally sovereign man over his own desires; however, that is not the kind of man that exists, nor the type of man that is presented in the Bible. Scripture presents man as a slave to sin, not as a slave to sometimes sinning but can choose to not sin if he so wishes to turn to God. The bondage of the will is quite serious, but that does not make it any less free.

If you have any questions, just ask.

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First, let me define "free will." Jonathan Edwards defined it as such: "The ability to choose what we want." That's rather short and sweet, so I'll elaborate a bit. Essentially, what Edward's is saying is that to have free will is to have the ability to choose your highest desire. For example, if someone wants vanilla ice cream, and they have chocolate and vanilla set before them, they are free to choose vanilla because that is what they want the most. Now, how does this relate to predestination? Let's look at the ice cream example again. If someone loves vanilla ice cream and hates chocolate ice cream, and vanilla and chocolate are placed before him. Given his prior circumstances of loving vanilla and hating chocolate, it logically follows he will choose the vanilla ice cream. Now, his free choice was predestined in the sense that his disposition to ice cream flavors predestined his ultimate choice. Now, was his free will impeded on? No, not at all. He chose what he wanted, and he did so freely.

I see. It's an interesting argument ^^ But I think it's deceptive to call this definition free: it says not that people have the ability to choose their highest desire, but rather that that they are bound to a highest desire determined by forces beyond their control; the real meaning of this definition is that they can't choose any lower desire. But choice, in a traditional sense, has to do with the valuation which precedes the creation of the hierarchy of desires.

And it seems to me this is an inadequate explanation for evil. According to Edwards' definition, perversion can only arise from perverted desire as all choice arises from highest desire. Perverted desire--the sinful nature--is inherited from the first perversion-. But from whence came this first perversion? Did a holy God create perverted desire that Adam's highest desire might be pride and not obedience to God? Or how else did Adam choose to be like God rather than to glorify God?

Which is to say, for there to be perversion in what was a wholly good world, there must be a perverter, and God could not pervert, therefore autonomy of a being other than God is necessary to the existence of evil--or, since God ordains all that is, at least He had foreknowledge of the results of an autonomy different than a determined free along Edwards' lines.

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The problem of the first sin is not only a problem for the Calvinist; why would a perfect being sin in the first place? If he was perfect, and all his desires were perfect, he could not create in himself something imperfect. And even more, if we allow that Adam's sin was by his own autonomy (which I wouldn't for a second) where did Satan's sin come from? A heavenly being sinned and fell, but why did he sin if he was created perfect, as well? Scripture is silent on the reasons for the sin happening; however, it is vocal on God's sovereignty over all things. Even in Isaiah, we see God stating He creates both order and chaos, light and darkness, evil and good: "I form light and create darkness, I make well being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things." (Isaiah 45:7).

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N.B. This post no longer really reflects my views :D

 

Even in Isaiah, we see God stating He creates both order and chaos, light and darkness, evil and good: "I form light and create darkness, I make well being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things." (Isaiah 45:7).


Don't equivocate just calamity with moral evil: The Lord is holy and all He made was good (Gen 1:31; James 1:13).

The problem of the first sin is not only a problem for the Calvinist; why would a perfect being sin in the first place? If he was perfect, and all his desires were perfect, he could not create in himself something imperfect. And even more, if we allow that Adam's sin was by his own autonomy (which I wouldn't for a second) where did Satan's sin come from? A heavenly being sinned and fell, but why did he sin if he was created perfect, as well?


This is precisely why I say in post #57 that autonomy is a mystery. I don't understand how evaluative autonomy with the potential for evil can exist under a God who is yet sovereign over that autonomy. In fact, I can't even understand entirely what evaluative autonomy is. What is the will which selects between desires, even to choose the lesser desire?

Yet I do know what I do understand, which is determinism, and that it does not allow for evil: for all that is determined arises from its determinants, and all determinants are themselves determined until the first determinants--and the first determinant of all things is God the creator. Yet God was wholly good and created no evil. So, no evil could have arisen; yet there is evil.

Let us not accept what is false because we do not understand the alternative. If Scripture declares the Lord is sovereign, then he is sovereign, but if all we have is our reason to suggest that the Lord's sovereignty is not compatible with any personal choice, yet our senses and our logic and the very basis of morality require personal choice, then let us doubt our reasoning and not the sovereignty or the choice.

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Essentially, what I would say about evil entering the world is that God ordained it, ordered it to happen, but he did not in and of himself cause it. Also, do not mix up Calvinism with determinism. They are different things. If we are to take seriously God's sovereignty, we must accept that God ordains evil things to happen for His good purposes. Let's look to Genesis, with the story of Joseph. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery; their intentions for selling him into slavery in Egypt were evil. However, when Joseph meets his brothers later on in his life he says "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." Clearly, God was sovereign over their actions. He didn't merely permit it to happen in the sense that he wasn't expecting their actions but saw how good could come about from it. This shows how God is sovereign over evil, as well as good, for the evil he causes brings about the proclamation of His divine glory. Do you see what I mean by God ordaining evil but not causing it? He does not coerce people to do evil; they do it willingly. But their willingness to do evil is all part of God's plan.

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Let's look to Genesis, with the story of Joseph. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery; their intentions for selling him into slavery in Egypt were evil. However, when Joseph meets his brothers later on in his life he says "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." Clearly, God was sovereign over their actions. He didn't merely permit it to happen in the sense that he wasn't expecting their actions but saw how good could come about from it. This shows how God is sovereign over evil, as well as good, for the evil he causes brings about the proclamation of His divine glory. Do you see what I mean by God ordaining evil but not causing it? He does not coerce people to do evil; they do it willingly. But their willingness to do evil is all part of God's plan.

Certainly! I accept whole-heartedly that God has foreknowledge of and a plan for evil that even what is perverted may be made right and what is damned might glorify its punisher. For as God has predestined His elect, so shall they rise.

What I deny is that divine foreknowledge is incompatible with created choice, or predestination with cooperation. Going back to post #57, I'm not claiming certainty in anything. Perhaps Calvinism is entirely correct: my point is that this is by no means necessary from the scant information we have on destiny, and that, one way or the other, it doesn't really change our situation.

Essentially, what I would say about evil entering the world is that God ordained it, ordered it to happen, but he did not in and of himself cause it

Certainly; and I'd agree at least insofar as God sustains evil and uses it according to His plan. But let's not forget that we haven't explained the cause; as I said, there must be a perverter; and how may a perverter created holy exist but that he have the ability to defy his purpose--even if that rebellion does not surprise God or in even the slightest way diminish that God's glory or the efficacy of His plan?

Also, do not mix up Calvinism with determinism.

They are not the same thing at all. However, what you described through Edwards' idea of choice is determinism: for then we could say that all action arises from the hierarchy of desires. Implicit in this was the idea that the hierarchy of desires was determined not by the individual, but by nature and God. Before nature was evil, all desires were good; therefore it's unthinkable that evil action should arise. Thus, evil denies that all action arise from determined desire for the same reason that it denies that evil could arise from good determinants.

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Ephesians 1:4-6

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."

This pretty much sums it up. Predestination. The Old Testament shows us countless times that God is a just God and he has no toleration for sin. He is God and he has the authority and power to decide who he chooses. Our human minds have no right to say that God "shouldn't" do something or he "should" do something. He is God and we can't begin to fathom his plans. If you tried to prove free will, how do explain that God is God? If it's not about him being sovereign (which it can't be with the free will theory), then how do you try to tell someone that he is God if he doesn't have the full power?

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It seems to me that Predestination creates a host of interesting questions related to the character of God regarding sin, the fallen state, and the over-all reasons and purpose for it all. One of the reasons why I just simply can't believe in it. However I think free will is on the other end of the spectrum, that creates a lot of interesting questions about God's character in terms of sovereignty and will. I can't believe in that either. So I'm in the middle of the two, in a sort of bound will that has limitations within God's ultimate will. The story of Job is a good illustration of what I mean by the bound will.

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I think of it as a magazine quiz; every decision you make leads to another. God presented us with the choices,but we make the decisions.

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I think of it as a magazine quiz; every decision you make leads to another. God presented us with the choices,but we make the decisions.

If you don't believe in predestination, just say so.

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I hate coming into old topics where I posted what I no longer believe :C Bumpers should be punished for inflicting this pain on me, if for nothing else. D8<

 

(Not really, it's fine, bumping old topics is plenty productive)

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I hate coming into old topics where I posted what I no longer believe :C Bumpers should be punished for inflicting this pain on me, if for nothing else. D8<

(Not really, it's fine, bumping old topics is plenty productive)

Am I allowed to know what you think of such matters now?

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I guess I believe something roughly like this:

 

1. That God has made me such that I know Him dimly in my deepest parts so that I cannot deny that He is worthy and that I am guilty insofar as I fail to meet His law.

 

2. Yet I am so constituted that it is impossible for me to live in Him absent the grace brought about by Christ's sacrifice, because I am guilty of Adam's original sin, and so I am convicted by God's law and made worthy of death.

 

3. Baptism restores me by grace, making me free because from then on I can choose the one law in principle of which I am created and have being and life, which is the law of the Spirit in me. (And if I choose this law, then I am truly free. True freedom of this kind is not the freedom to do as I please, but the freedom to be autonomous in Christ--that is, subject only to my own law, through Him in me.)

 

4. While Baptism sets me free in a negative sense, nevertheless the positive acceptance of the free gift of grace depends on a movement of my will, that I accept the Spirit's work in me and do not reject it. For I am composed of both flesh and spirit, and insofar as the Spirit tries to work in me, still there is a part of my old nature that resists; and if I so choose, my spirit may surrender to the flesh, and thereby I sin. (In this sense, I do have the traditional idea of freedom, which is to say I am free precisely insofar as I have the "freedom" to choose the sinful over the blessed.)

 

However, 4 presents the problem of indeterminacy. Wherever the Spirit says "go," and I can say "yes Lord" or "no," there is a curious point at which there is something unknown--a mystery as to what God foresees, and what is possible in me. I believe that I make a free choice on some level; I don't think I could incur guilt otherwise. But I don't know how that choice takes place, or what its consequences are in terms of God's providential plan.

 

I no longer really speculate about how free I am to determine the accidents of my life, e.g. whom I marry if I marry, how much happiness my life will contain, etc.

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In the spirit of being productive on old threads --

 

I'm beginning to feel that the argument betwixt predestination and free will is more false dilemma than actual problem. Clearly God knows what we will do and could easily control what we do and so, even if by doing nothing, essentially predestine us. At the same time it is clearly the case that if man has no option to reject salvation than it is not man which has chosen salvation but, as clearly, there is no real freedom outside of Grace. 

 

Is man able not to sin without God's predestination? Again, if it is important that man chooses salvation and doesn't have it chosen for him, clearly man must be able to choose salvation under his own impetus. However man could not choose salvation unless it was offered to him and over the presentation man has no power. Is man able to live a perfect life and achieve salvation as merit for his works? Man cannot rest salvation from God and therefore man may only have salvation as God gives it. The issue of original sin and its inheritance seems to me to be a false dilemma as well. It would seem that it would be contrary to God's nature to convict some for the sins of another but at the same time man certainly may not do good without the consent of God and man seems to have always had the propensity to sin. At some point in his life, man is not fully aware of what sin is and sins without fully realizing what he has done and it is in this way that every man is a sinner and in need of grace since, again, he certainly can not take the littlest thing from God let alone salvation. From all this I derive that man cannot live a perfect life because man himself is not perfect therefore neither can he merit equality with God. 

 

Perhaps I take too simple a view on this or perhaps I am a hidden Arminian. Upon rereading this, this strikes me as a slightly humanist view of this subject.

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I believe that certain points in time are fixed and unchangeable but most of time is flexible and can change.

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